I'd like to introduce a feature here on DTGG that I hope to update throughout the season (and off-season) as roster changes and player performance dictate. The feature is (as you could probably guess from the title of this post) a six year outlook on the players the A's have at a certain position. This post lays out what the series is about (and explains why I'm doing things in certain ways) and I hope to get right into the outlooks shortly.
These are the questions that seemed important to me to answer to make these outlooks as useful as possible.
Why six years?
Six years is about as long as we can expect anyone to be on the A's major league roster. It includes all of a player's team-controlled seasons. Six years is also sufficient time to go deep into the A's farm system. Even the rawest of prospects should be at least vying for a major league job in six years (See Michael Inoa). Doing a shorter-term outlooks would lead to more accurate projections, but would also ignore a number of interesting players (e.g. Max Stassi) and would not provide a full picture of organizational health. Anything longer than six years is foolhardy, as it's probable that the A's roster in 2017 would include only a handful of players currently in the A's system.
Why by position?
Doing a position-by-position outlook shines a light on what types of players the A's need in order to maintain competitiveness in the future. If, for example, the outfield outlook reveals that the A's don't have a good center field option five years down the road, we then know that they'll need to look for those types of players via trades or the draft or expect that this will be an area where the A's may need to pursue a free agent in the future.
I may also do a team outlook by year after I do a position-by-position outlook. It's probably not as instructive to do one for each of the next six years, but I'd like to take a look at what the A's roster might look like in 2011 and 2012.
Players who project to play multiple positions at the major league level will appear several times in the positional outlooks. This goes for prospects who might have to switch positions before reaching the majors as well. I don't plan on doing a specific outlook for DHs, but as I move through the positions I'll note which players
As of now I only plan on doing an outlook for starting pitchers. When necessary, I'll note pitchers that might be better suited for the bullpen, but given that the A's strong bullpens in the past have included converted starters (Bailey, Ziegler) guys we traded nothing to get (Devine, Wuertz), and a mish-mash of other players I'm inclined to throw my hands in the air and just say I can't predict who might be a good reliever down the road.
This is always a good question that I like to ask myself before writing something. (This is especially important given that I need to explain writing nine somethings (ten including this post).) I hope to really root out where the A's organizational strengths and weaknesses are. And given that the core of the A's will always (for the foreseeable future, at least) consist of players developed inside the organization it's vitally important that the A's have viable major league options throughout the organization.
I don't mean for these to be projections. Guessing that the A's infield in 2013 will be Chris Carter, Jemile Weeks, Grant Green, and Adrian Cardenas doesn't fully explore the options they'll have at the time. What to do about Cliff Pennington and Daric Barton? What about Adam Rosales? Could Dusty Coleman be a viable option as a utility infielder? This is the level of detail I want to get and I think doing these six-year projections will help answer these types of questions.